We spent the past weekend at the Tile Festival on the grounds of Fonthill/Moravian Tile Works in Doylestown, PA. Held every year, this show celebrates tiles. All kinds, but only tiles!
For information on the site, you can look up Henry Chapman Mercer on your own, but as a quick bit of background, he is the man who built the concrete house (Fonthill) and established the tile works. His life was dedicated to several things, among them being the preservation of implements and objects of pre-industrial everyday life, and making tiles. The tile works continues to produce tiles according to his designs and in a handmade manner. The house is Mercer’s interests all in one place. Both are open for tours and are worth seeing if you are ever in the area.
So you can see why the Tile Festival is held at this location. It’s an annual event and draws a devoted crowd of people who appreciate and like and love tiles! As a tile artist, it means a lot to me to have the appreciation I get for my work at this show. And I also am honored to be part of the group of tile artists in this show.
OK, I’ll get to the actual event. We set up on Friday afternoon, a blazing hot day. By Saturday morning, though, the weather had turned chilly and rainy.
We were able to come in and relax until the show started, but others were setting up.
Here are Joe (in the booth) and Sheila of the Tile Heritage Foundation. This organization is dedicated to research and preservation of ceramic and tile surface. I enjoy talking to them each year.
In the next picture, you see what art shows run on – coffee and dougnuts. And it’s great when the show organizers have some ready for you. This show also puts on a dinner for all the tile artists on Saturday night. We sit outside the tile works building and socialize. It is a great chance to talk to people – not something you get to do much of during the show, when we’re all busy.
Our tables were set in the middle of the second tent. I’ve had this same space for several years and I love it.
Some of my neighbors’ work:
On Sunday, the weather was still cool but the sky had turned a lovely blue.
I checked out the silent auction at the entrance gate: planters made by various artists in the show. I saw several I’d be happy to take home…
The show was very busy for me. Over the years, I have built up a group of people who look for me and my work; people come to this show year after year and they develop their favorites. As for me, the same thing happens. I have formed personal attachments to many customers and there was a lot of hugging and catching up on things. Several friends also stopped by.
I reflected on this aspect of doing shows – the bonds that form with people. Not only customers who become acquaintances or friends, but also with the other artists. As we were getting ready to leave after packing up, we made the rounds of our neighbors, wishing them a safe journey home, reminding each other that we will meet here again in one year and hoping that the intervening months will be good ones. I have sold tiles in my booth surrounded by familiar faces at this show now for some years and as one artist said, we are like a family.
Nice idea. Have a family reunion and sell tiles. That is what we do here at the Tile Fest!